This title feeds and calms listeners’ imaginations in the most delightful way.

READ REVIEW

MY BEDTIME MONSTER

The book jacket’s depiction of a Leonardo da Vinci–esque creature transporting a child across an emerald sky signals a highly original approach to a pitch for a pet.

Sporting a scarlet bowler hat, the cylindrically shaped girl describes her requirements: cuddly but strong; adept at flying and swimming; capable of shrinking and growing on demand. The dialogue indicates that she is talking with her parents. They may be offstage, but it is also possible that what seems to be the monster/pet on the facing page (and elsewhere) is a dreamy composite of the parents—a provocative ambiguity. Soon after Rikki crawls into bed, a voice invites her to play hide-and-seek. The ensuing nocturnal adventure involves the rhinoceroslike creature’s fulfillment of her wishes. Composed of a patchwork of foil and saturated colors (especially red and green) and replete with a tusk, wings, and stylish shoes, the monster continuously morphs, expanding at the climax to escape a spiky sea ogre. While the textured scenes are mysterious and quirky, and the protagonist is anxious at times, the award-winning, Czech-born collaborators balance tension with joy: “Rikki’s heart beats faster, full of excitement.” Girl and pet have fully bonded by the conclusion, when the child asks the monster to stay “please, and always protect me.”

This title feeds and calms listeners’ imaginations in the most delightful way. (Picture book.4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-988-8240-47-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Minedition

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

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The lack of adventure and the pat, pedestrian resolution makes this an ineffective if well-intentioned appeal to get past...

SNOW BEAST COMES TO PLAY

Unfortunately for one disgruntled snow beast, there isn’t a whole lot to do on the mountain aside from snoring or comparing relative foot size (big, bigger, biggest).

Tobogganing all the way down on his prodigious rump, Snow Beast lands in town to start his search for a friend. Snow Beast is as large as a three-story building, and his voice is just as huge. Despite having the conversational skills of a caveman—“SNOW BEAST WANT PLAY!”—Snow Beast appears to know a lot about the rules of friendship, such as always starting with “Hello,” and “to try to join in.” Nevertheless, Snow Beast’s overtures of friendship are rejected by everyone—from the five o’clock shadowed snow-shoveler to the shrieking Christmas-light committee. Penny, a little white girl who loves snow but knows enough to be wary of snow beasts, screeches and runs after his bellowed, “HELLO!!” But when Snow Beast starts crying, Penny, despite her dog’s advice to the contrary, invites the beast to play. And that’s about it, as far as plot is concerned. Gosier’s spare illustrations evoke the animation style of the 1950s. Speech bubbles capture the scant lines of dialogue as well as every screech, shriek, and howl of the terrified townsfolk.

The lack of adventure and the pat, pedestrian resolution makes this an ineffective if well-intentioned appeal to get past the unreliability of first impressions. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62672-519-5

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017

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A funny read-aloud with (mostly) chuckle-inducing illustrations.

GINNY GOBLIN IS NOT ALLOWED TO OPEN THIS BOX

She may not be allowed to, but the eponymous green-skinned, overalls-clad monster thinks of many magnificent, creative ways to open that box before dinnertime.

Ginny’s large head sports huge, white eyes with long, dark lashes, a cheerful, two-fanged grin, and two pointy ears—one of which is torn. In other words, she is undoubtedly a nonharmful sort of goblin. After the text makes it clear that Ginny is not allowed to open the box until dinnertime—but “she really wants to know what’s inside”—it asks, “What if we put the box way up on a shelf?” Next, readers learn the many (often absurdly hypothetical) things that Ginny Goblin is not allowed to do in order to reach the box, including using a rope and a grappling hook or building a catapult or poking at “scaly, scary serpents” in a “murky moat.” Needing to wait until dinnertime strikes a familiar chord with this age group and becomes an appropriate refrain. Lighthearted, cartoony artwork mostly supports the text’s tongue-in-cheek tone, leading to laughs about the outlandish suggestions. However, slapstick images of Ginny’s body slamming against a stone tower and, later, Ginny clobbering serpents may strike many as unnecessarily violent. Suspense builds when Ginny temporarily turns her attention away from opening the box. The closure of knowing what’s inside is supplemented by a punchline well understood by children who have been given boundaries by adults.

A funny read-aloud with (mostly) chuckle-inducing illustrations. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: July 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-76415-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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